Ontario, CA – The Ontario Reign (6-5-4-0) made a late push in the waning seconds of the final period, but came up short, falling 4-3 against the San Diego Gulls (8-5-1-0) on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Business Bank Arena. With the victory, the Gulls extend their winning streak to six games.
“I thought the effort was a lot better tonight than it was last night,” said Head Coach Mike Stothers after the game. “Some of the processing wasn’t quite where it needs to be, but again, we’ve kind of touched on it with different personnel and the younger guys.”
“There’s some growing pains that come along with it, but I think I made it pretty clear that I can handle that if the effort’s there. I’m somewhat pleased where the effort was tonight. Somewhat,” added Coach Stothers.
Forward Chris Wagner, who returned from the Anaheim Ducks earlier today, gave the Gulls the lead with 27.9 seconds remaining in the opening frame after ripping a shot from the right wing to beat netminder Jack Flinn. Prior to the goal Ontario had a solid period, pouring nine shots on goaltender Dustin Tokarski, but came up empty.
Ontario evened the scoring in the middle frame after San Diego forward Austen Brassard was called for slashing at 6:55. The Reign offense acted quickly moving through traffic and fed the puck to forward Jonny Brodzinski who launched a one-timer between the pads of Tokarski 14 seconds into the power play. Forward Sean Backman and defenseman Paul LaDue picked up the assist on Brodzinski’s fifth goal of the season. The Gulls regained the lead at 15:04 when forward Kevin Roy tipped the puck past Flinn for his team-leading seventh goal of the season. Wagner registered the assist alongside forward Corey Tropp who extends his point streak to seven games.
The Reign tied things up at 1:56 of the third period, on a rebounded shot from forward T.J. Hensick. Forward Michael Mersch and defenseman Kurtis MacDermid were credited with the assists. Hensick and Brodzinski lead the Reign with six goals each. Thereafter, San Diego generated offense of their own as forward Antoine Laganiere scored over a sprawled out Flinn to reclaim the lead. At 6:32, Tropp finds forward Kalle Kossila on the breakaway to extend the San Diego lead to two goals. The Reign made a late push and capitalized when Mersch connected with defenseman Vincent LoVerde who blasted a one-timer with 31 seconds remaining in regulation. Ontario scrambled to make a play, but could not score the game-tying tally as San Diego held on to win, 4-3.
At the end of the game, Coach Stothers continued to stress the importance of details and the little things that need to be done.
“It ends up being a one-goal game and then you realize maybe we shouldn’t be holding onto the puck as long as we do on a 4-on-4 and sometimes that’s the difference in the game.”
The Ontario Reign continue a season-high five-game homestand on Friday, December 2 against the Tucson Roadrunners at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 3 against the Charlotte Checkers at 6:00 p.m. at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Enjoy $2 Bud Light Friday against the Roadrunners! Bring new on gently used stuff animals to Saturday’s contest for Teddy Bear Toss presented by Smart Solar Power!
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